Menopause before the age of forty? It is possible. It can occur naturally or as a result of treatment, radiotherapy, or surgery. Can this process be reversed? We explain.
We can talk about menopause when a woman has not had a period for at least a year. The condition usually appears at age 50 or older, but it may also appear in younger women. This is referred to as premature or early menopause (also known as premature ovarian failure, POF). premature ovarian failure). It is estimated that early menopause may affect up to 10 percent. Women under the age of 40, but only in the case of 1-2 per cent. Of them we can talk about a true early menopause, that is, an irreversible state.
What could be the causes of early menopause?
Early menopause can occur from natural causes, or it can be the result of treatment, radiation therapy, or surgery. The most common causes of early menopause are usually drug treatment or surgical intervention.
Surgical menopause occurs when the ovaries are completely removed. This procedure is performed, for example, due to tumors, ovarian inflammation or cysts that can damage the ovaries. The cause may also be endometriosis within the uterus. Then the ovaries are removed along with the uterus, although fortunately this is less and less. The effects of the surgery are usually visible on the day it is performed. There is a sharp decrease in the level of hormones, both estrogens and androgens.
Early menopause can also be the result of drug therapy (a side effect or intentional effect), for example in the case of endometriosis or breast cancer. Fortunately, it is a reversible process in most cases (the so-called reversible amenorrhea).
Other causes of early menopause can be pelvic radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Both methods can damage the ovaries (temporarily or permanently). In these cases, menopause may begin immediately or months after treatment.
Early menopause can also occur without outside intervention, but as a result of autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus, vitiligo, and type 1 diabetes. them and lead to menopause.
Other lifestyle reasons. Many women use a strict diet, fasting, which is associated with a deficiency of several essential nutrients. This can have fatal – and most importantly – irreversible consequences. Such diets destroy the body and lead to disturbances in the secretion of hormones.
The ovaries are also sensitive to toxins, smoking, and drugs. The rule is simple: the more you smoke, the more alcohol you drink, the less fat you will have, the earlier you can expect menopause. These factors are not likely to lead to early menopause, but they can cause us to stop menstruating a year or two earlier than may occur due to the natural aging of the body.
Premature ovarian failure can also occur as a result of extreme stress. Psychological trauma can cause the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis to stop working. Such strong pressure can lead to the death of a loved one, war, rape.
What about young women who don’t have periods? Fortunately, this is a rather rare phenomenon, but it is possible. There may be several reasons for this.
Early menopause can be caused by the virus that causes mumps. It can lead to ovarian inflammation and irreversible damage to the follicles. In the case of a girl who has not yet had a period, the disease can cause partial or complete damage to the ovaries. This is why immunization against mumps is mandatory.
Another reason is genetic factors that prevent the ovaries from working properly. In such girls, hormonal therapy should be carried out to maintain normal body functions.
Early menopause – what problems are associated with this?
Early menopause is associated with many distressing symptoms. It may appear, for example:
Early menopause is also associated with an increased risk of:
- osteoporosis (which can affect the condition of teeth, bones, etc.),
- Cardiovascular disease, including stroke
- depression and anxiety (loss of fertilityespecially in women who do not have children, it may be a traumatic experience and lead to depression),
- Impotence (many women develop low self-esteem).
Source: “Menopause. A guide for women” Edited by Dr. Robin N. Thyroid
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